THE TEN AT 10:
1. Georgia’s 2011 recruiting class has a chance to be ranked in the top five nationally and possibly the top three if it manages to close on all its main targets on national signing day, national recruiting expert Tom Lemming of CBS College Sports Network said Thursday.
The Bulldogs already have secured commitments from six of the top 12 players on the AJC Fab 50 list and will find in the next several days if they’ll add Georgia’s top two players. Thomas County defensive end Ray Drew, the No. 2-ranked player, will announce his choice on Friday. Carver-Columbus running back Isaiah Crowell, the No. 1 player, will announce on national signing day. Georgia is also in the lead for nose guard John Jenkins, Rivals.com’s No. 6-ranked junior college player. He will announce a week from Saturday.
If those prospects tab the Bulldogs, that will give them top player in America at three different positions. Valdosta’s Jay Rome, who committed to UGA last Thursday, is the No. 1-ranked tight end in the country.
“If they get those guys they will finish somewhere like third, fourth or fifth, maybe higher,” said Lemming, who has Drew and Rome No. 1 at their respective positions and Crowell number four. “Alabama, who is already No. 1, is going to be tough to beat, especially if they end up getting Jadeveon Clowney. Texas already has a great class, even though they recently lost their best player to Auburn. Florida State and LSU have good classes. Then there’s USC, who was supposed to be limited with 15 scholarships but is loading up because of their NCAA appeal. But Georgia’s going to be in that mix.”
The Bulldogs’ class currently ranks No. 8 by Scout.com, No. 9 by Rivals and 11 by ESPNU/Scouts Inc.
“A lot of it has to do with Mark Richt,” Lemming said. “He probably doesn’t get enough credit for being a great recruiter. And it’s Georgia itself. It’s the state school. I’ve been driving through there for 32 years and kids grow up wanting to be Bulldogs, no matter what the situation is.”
2. Drew, by the way, said it was he, not the college teams recruiting him, who canceled all the in-home visits scheduled for this week. Clemson, Auburn and LSU were all due in his Thomasville home this week, but Drew said he asked them not to come.
“I needed this week just to breathe a little bit and clear my mind,” the 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end said. “I didn’t want to talk to any more coaches.”
Drew is going to announce his decision Friday morning at 10 a.m. at Thomas County Central High School. That has required a lot of his time to get ready. Not only has he had to figure out who he’s going to pick — he already knows, by the way — and how he’s going to do it, but he also is having to juggle his academic schedule. He’s having to take one test today that was scheduled for Friday so he can get it out of the way.
“I’m ready to get it out and get it over with,” he said.
Drew offered no hints or intentional deflections were provided by Drew this time. He said will talk about finalists Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Miami on Friday. But there will be no hat ceremony, he said. “Only the one I’m going to put on my head when I say where I’m going.
3. In case you missed it, Crowell canceled his visit to Auburn set for this weekend and has eliminated the reigning national champions from consideration. So he will pick between Alabama and Georgia when he makes his announcement on national signing day.
The ceremony, which will include all of his college-bound teammates, will be held at 1:30 .p.m. at the Occasions Event Center at 1807 Victory Drive in Columbus. ESPNU will carry Crowell’s announcement to a national television audience.
There is drama beyond Crowell to be played out. Four-star defensive tackle Gabe Wright reportedly is torn between Auburn and Tennessee.
4. It was no coincidence that Tre Mason accepted a scholarship to Auburn on the same day that Isaiah Crowell canceled his visit to the Plains. The Tigers were telling Crowell he was their first choice. But almost as soon as Crowell informed Auburn coaches he wasn’t coming, Mason announced that he committed to the Tigers.
Auburn also picked up a late commitment Wednesday from defensive end Devaunte Sigler of Mobile, Ala. Sigler (6-3, 250) is rated a three-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. He chose Auburn over LSU and Mississippi State. Could it be that he filled the spot that was being held for Drew? Guess we’ll find out tomorrow.
5. There seems to have been some confusion over the contact that was made and what might have been said between Georgia Tech and North Carolina State commitment Dave Mann. The bottom line is the defensive end from Lithonia has not received a scholarship offer from the Yellow Jackets and is not going to get one. Mann is expected to sign with the Wolfpack on national signing day.
Mann’s teammate Cedrick Cooper is also garnering a lot of recruiting interest. He made an official visit to South Carolina last week and is going to choose between the Gamecocks, Arkansas and Ole Miss on national signing day.
6. Many ot the top prospects in Metro Atlanta will be signing their scholarships or just dropping by [CORRECTION FOLLOWING] Andretti Karting in Roswell (11000 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell, GA 30076) on national signing day. Radio station 680 The Fan (WCNN) will be broadcasting its “Chuck & Chernoff Show,” featuring Matt Chernoff and Chuck Oliver, live from that location. Fox 5 Atlanta’s Buck Lanford and Ken Rodriguez, former Georgia coach Jim Donnan and Doug Konkel are also expected to be guests of the Touchdown Club of Atlanta-sponsored event.
7. There’s a great piece by Andy Staples at SI.com on the practice of oversigning. A former colleague at the AJC, Staples broke down the number of players all 120 FBS schools signed over the last five years and calculated a yearly average. The numbers are incredibly enlightening. And Staples takes a hard line in his commentary.
Based on the data, Georgia Tech (115th) is one of the best about sticking to the numbers and Georgia (70th) is not bad either. Troy, which has signed an average of 32.8 players over the last five years, is the worst offender. Ole Miss (29), Auburn (28.8) and Mississippi State (27.6) are second, third and fourth, respectively. Alabama, often been targeted as a chief culprit, is 10th at 26.6 per year.
8. Georgia’s probably not so upset anymore about not landing four-star wide receiver Tobias Singleton. He was arrested in Mississippi recently and is facing some serious charges. And apparently his real name is Tobias Manning.
9. Unless you bought the print edition of the AJC this past Sunday or get our incredible iPad application, you probably didn’t get a chance to read Michael Carvell’s terrific piece on “package deals” in recruiting. But it’s online now and you can read it by simply CLICKING THIS LINK.
10. THIS & THAT: Westlake defensive back Ronnie Harris gained his academic acceptance into Stanford this week. That dramatically increased the likelihood he’ll sign with Cardinal on Wednesday. “I love the school,” he told Rivals.com. “I’m just thinking about when I’m going to commit. It’s Stanford all the way right now. It might happen today. It might happen tomorrow. I’m not sure.” . . .
Lauderdale Lakes linebacker Kent Turene confirmed his plans to takes his final official visit to Texas Tech this weekend. A three-star prospect who is committed to Southern Cal, Turene made an official to UGA last weekend and raved about the Bulldogs. . . . Elbert County running back Valdon Cooper committed to Illnois. He is expected to play cornerback for the Illini. . . . DJ Miolen, a tight end/defensive end from North Hall, committed to the Air Force Academy. He took an official visit there last weekend. . . .
We’ve been unable to reach defensive tackle Tre Jackson to confirm whether he will make an official visit to Miami this weekend or honor his commitment to Georgia Tech. . . . UGA commitment Zach DeBell called me Wednesday to make sure I knew he was definitely going to sign with the Bulldogs on NSD. DeBell, a 6-foot-7, 275-pound offensive tackle, wavered a little after Stacy Searels bolted Georgia for Texas. . . . Jadeveon Clowney, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the country, graces the cover of the latest edition of ESPN The Magazine. . . .
Here’s a sad one: A Mississippi State fan/Facebook stalker was cited as a big reason why linebacker C.J. Johnson of Philadelphia, Miss., eliminated the Bulldogs from consideration and ultimately ended up committing to rival Ole Miss.
By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog